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Video: ‘Clown school’ student Ami Moulton aiming to be the next Dawn French

10:36 27 May 2014

Ami Moulton, 21, gets into prestigious clown school in Paris. Pictured outside her old school, Ormiston Sudbury Academy.

Ami Moulton, 21, gets into prestigious clown school in Paris. Pictured outside her old school, Ormiston Sudbury Academy.

An aspiring young actor is set to pack her bags and head off to ‘clown school’ in Paris, following in the footsteps of comedy greats Sacha Baron Cohen and Emma Thompson.


Ami Moulton, from Cavendish, is on a mission to become the ‘Dawn French of her generation’ and now has a rare chance to acquire the necessary skills.

The 21-year-old, who attended Ormiston Sudbury Academy (formerly Sudbury Upper School), has secured a coveted place at the École Philippe Gaulier. The prestigious French theatre school has an impressive list of former students, including Harry Potter actress Kathryn Hunter and the multi-award-winning star of stage and screen Thompson.

But comedy acting has not always been top of Ami’s career list. She only took the subject up at A-level alongside English language and history after getting involved in school productions, often “playing the clown”.

Encouraged by drama teachers who spotted her talent, she then went on to complete a degree in physical theatre at St Mary’s University, London.

Ami said: “I really loved history and originally wanted to be an archaeologist, but the more theatre productions I watched and got involved in at school, I came to realise that I wanted to make people laugh – for all the right reasons – through my acting.

“It’s largely thanks to people like Leo Cox, Sudbury Upper’s head of performing arts, who recognised where my ability lies and gave me the comedy roles.”

Founded in 1980, the École Philippe Gaulier promotes the theory that acting is a child’s game played with pleasure and dexterity which forms a rapport with audience members by speaking to their imaginations.

Ami continued: “When I tell people I’m going to clown school, they think it involves wearing a red nose and training to be in the circus, but it teaches a very physical type of theatre that involves a lot of clowning.

“It’s like the type of acting in the old black and white films like Laurel and Hardy or Charlie Chaplin.”

Ami has won a place at the school for a year starting in October with an option to stay on for a further year.

While she is there, she hopes to find work with a theatre company and would eventually like to try her hand at films.

She added: “It will be a real experience living in Paris and a privilege to work with some very talented people.

“My parents have been very supportive and they are happy that I will be doing something I want to do and am 100% committed to.

“I would like to try a lot of different things, but I really love French and Saunders. The pinnacle for me would be to become this generation’s next comedy great like Dawn French.”



  • No Gobby, you confuse "funny" with "ridiculous". They're two different things, you know. The one is when they laugh with you, the other is when they laugh at you.

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • What talent & intelligence? I'm funnier than her that's for sure.

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Gobby - I bet you'd love to have the talent, intelligence, popularity, success and money of Dawn French.

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Another Dawn French?? In the words of the Glasgow audience when the second of the mike and bernie winters duo joined his brother on the satge: 'Oh my god, there's two of them!'

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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